Family Grace
By Shawnelle Eliasen

A Simple Goodness

We’ve had pirates among us for years.

At any moment, the boys’ bunk bed morphs into a rickety ship. They erect a flag. They wear pantaloons and surly smiles. They sail the high seas and, if they’re lucky, they nibble chocolate from gold candy coins.

The pirates call me Mama Red. I call them by their pirate names, too. Gabriel is Captain Blacktooth. He smacked his precious head on the bedroom hardwood when he was three and his tiny tooth went black. When it fell out prematurely, he became Ghost Tooth. Now, years later, he’s reclaimed the first name. Isaiah is Oceanus. Early in our pirating years, I didn’t have the heart to tell him that Oceanus was a babe born on the Mayflower. His name has stayed the same.

Today the pirates are in the house full force. I can hear their banter overhead. There’s surely a wild adventure at the top of our curvy old stairs.

And for a moment, the beauty in this strikes me. There is something graceful and lovely in this common, everyday thing.

Thank you, God, for the beauty in
the play of small boys,
uninhibited laugher,
free-flowing imagination,
the sweet sounds that drift from the stairwell,
and a simple goodness that makes today rich.

I hear the pirates beckoning. I’ve been summoned to the ship. They holler down the stairwell that they’re close to discovering treasure.

I head up to find them.  And I smile as I climb the stairs.

 My pirate boys don’t understand that the treasure has already been found.

 Where do you see beauty in a simple, every day thing?

Shawnelle Eliasen and her husband Lonny have been married for twenty-five years. They have five sons and raise their bevy of boys in an old Victorian near the Illinois banks of the Mississippi River. Their sons, Logan, Grant, Samuel, Gabriel, and Isaiah, range in age from twenty-one to six with Shawnelle home teaching the youngest three.

Shawnelle has been writing for six years, contributing regularly to Guideposts magazine, Daily Guideposts devotional and other inspirational publications.  She would say that life with her men moves faithfully, on fast forward.  But it’s her heart’s desire, her passionate prayer, to see God’s goodness and glory in the fullness of her days. She longs to see Him in the unexpected moments, unexpected places, changing the ordinary to extraordinary and bringing quiet, sustaining grace.